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In the Arctic Ocean, diplomacy works

first_imgBut global warming has changed things.The ice now melts enough in summer to expose as much as 40 percent of the water. The parties to the new agreement include countries with extensive Arctic coastlines (Russia, Canada), and major fishing industries (South Korea, China, Japan), as well as the United States and the European Union.They will next establish a polar research program so that scientists from around the world can survey the hundreds of species living in the central Arctic — as well as those drawn to the region’s warming waters — and learn how their food webs operate. That this work will be done in international waters before any fishing trawlers arrive is unprecedented.That so many countries could reach such a sensible, ecologically sound agreement shows what people can achieve when they’re prepared to cooperate.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following appears on Bloomberg View:Amid resurgent nationalism and talk of nuclear war, it’s been a rough year for global diplomacy.So a 10-party agreement to protect the waters of the planet’s far north qualifies as a minor miracle.For the next 16 years, commercial fishing will be prohibited in the central Arctic, a Mediterranean-sized patch of icy ocean more than 200 nautical miles from any nation’s coastline.This will give scientists time to study whether fishing might safely be allowed there.The goal is to avoid the overfishing that has depleted fish populations in other parts of the world — pollock in the Bering Strait, for instance, or krill in the Antarctic Ocean.Until recently, ice made commercial fishing impossible in the central Arctic.last_img read more

 

We must treat each other more fairly

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionI will always vote for candidates who support treaties that unite countries against climate change.I believe that all residents of every country in the world are equally deserving of a clean, safe environment to live and work in, for an infinite number of generations into the future.I grew up believing that Americans were learning to treat each other more fairly; people like Donald Trump, Claude Rizzicone Jr. [Jan. 14 letter], and Dave Edwards [Jan. 15 letter] seem determined to prove me wrong.Nevertheless, I will persist and resist. Thank you, President Obama. Thank you, Don Steiner [Jan. 9 letter].Joyce M. CockerhamSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

 

Take State Department off chopping block

first_imgThe U.S. has no ambassador in Seoul to blunt North Korea’s recent charm offensive, nor in Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and numerous other hot spots.Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s controversial restructuring of the State Department has driven away some of America’s best and brightest young officers.More broadly, the president’s erratic rhetoric has tainted global opinion of the U.S. and threatens to turn a decline in soft power into an outright deficit.On recent trips to the Middle East and Latin America, Tillerson’s effort to advance the fight against shared threats was undercut by Trump’s angry denunciations of U.S. partners as “laughing at us” and U.S. aid as a waste of money.For all its failings, the Trump team’s strategic vision isn’t completely off-base.The return of greater geopolitical competition is real and demands a smart, cost-effective approach.And the fact is, both in terms of personnel and spending as a percentage of federal outlays, the State Department at the end of the Barack Obama years was at historic highs. Barely two months after warning in its new National Security Strategy of “growing political, economic and military competitions,” the White House has delivered a foreign-affairs budget that amounts to diplomatic disarmament.It calls for a 29 percent cut to U.S. diplomatic and foreign aid spending next year — the most to any federal department.Among its ill-considered targets are democracy promotion, peacekeeping, and the fight against disease and climate change.Even worse, the Office of Management and Budget pegs the department’s outlays in 2023 as only 58 percent of this year’s.Such cleaver cuts may mostly be an empty love letter to Trump’s base.But the administration has already done lasting damage to U.S. diplomacy.More than one-third of the State Department’s 150 positions requiring Senate confirmation remain empty. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared on Bloomberg View:President Donald Trump’s latest proposal to eviscerate the State Department’s budget may already be dead on arrival in Congress.It’s nonetheless a reminder of how the administration’s failure to take diplomacy seriously is undermining its own strategic goals.center_img But lopping off nearly 30 percent of foreign-affairs spending in one blow makes no sense — especially if you think the world is so dangerous that defense spending must increase by 13 percent.Congress can use upcoming budget hearings to safeguard proven programs and encourage prudent investments in a more efficient State Department.Tillerson’s plans for improving information technology and unifying efforts to promote investment in developing countries are both good starts that deserve support.But Congress should also recognize that after more than a year in office, the Trump administration still needs stiff reminders of why diplomacy is a serious and worthwhile taxpayer investment.One way to deliver that message: Use its constitutional power to reject dubious political ambassadorial picks whose selection threatens to undermine U.S. influence.With tight budgets, empty chairs and growing foreign-policy challenges, every appointment must count.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

 

Humans add more CO2 than stated

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe Feb. 18 letter, “Man-made climate change. Do the Math,” from Rodger Anderson appears to contain a serious math error. Mr. Anderson states that, as of 2007, National Geographic stated that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were increasing at the rate of two parts per million (ppm) annually, and that “calculates at over 400 billion metric tons/year.” Mr. Anderson then goes on to say that “National Geographic can only account for eight billion metric tons/year added to the atmosphere by humans.” Based on a math error, he then comes to the incorrect conclusion that “human activity must not be the cause for the rise in this greenhouse gas.”I redid the math. The National Center for Atmospheric Research gives the mean mass of the atmosphere as 5.148 x 10^18 kg, which is 5.148 x 10^15 metric tons.  Two ppm of this number is 1.03 x 10^10 metric tons, or just over 10 billion metric tons.So, using the 2007 data from National Geographic, namely that humans contribute 8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year, humans are indeed responsible for the great majority of the annual increase of 10 billion metric tons of this greenhouse gas, and hence global warming.Victor RobertsBurnt HillsMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

 

Letters to the Editor for Thursday, Jan. 2

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionIt’s difficult to know what people thinkThis is in response to Janette Schue’s Dec. 23 (“Stefanik defense of Trump ignores plot”) letter to the editor. She criticized the president because “Trump didn’t get the result he wanted,” and also Congresswoman Stefanik by comparing her decision to support the president to characters in “Home Alone.”She stated, “But their failures don’t exonerate them of the crimes they did commit.” Perhaps Ms. Schue could explain just exactly what these crimes might be, since the Mueller report, costing taxpayers millions, was unable to identify a crime.Or perhaps she can identify a specific crime that the Democrats in Congress, during their impeachment process, were unable to identify, at a cost of millions to taxpayers.It’s interesting how people like Ms. Schue are able to determine how “anyone thinks.” Is she educated and experienced enough to give a psychological opinion of what any person is thinking?We need to talk about facts and not what people think others are thinking. With her thought process, perhaps the police should sit outside businesses and then arrest anyone they think might commit a crime.Congresswoman Stefanik has done an excellent job in representing people in her district on how she actually thinks herself. We may not agree with our representatives, but it is their job to do what they think is best. If we don’t agree, then we can display our displeasure in future elections.Norm MillerPrincetownShame on governor, bishop over pensionAs we head into 2020, I can’t help but to think of the dedicated healthcare workers of the former St. Clare’s Hospital.These good people face another year of uncertainty and reduced financial resources. I have no doubt that many will be faced with more difficult life choices because they have lost part or all of their pensions.Both the Albany Diocese and New York state played major roles in this debacle, yet neither the bishop nor the governor will take any responsibility for this mess. Both will tell you that they care about people and want to help those in need. Yet here we are one year later with people suffering, and we are no closer to a solution. Both have the resources to help and could even work together to rectify this injustice.But instead, they choose to ignore these individuals who had their hard-earned pensions yanked away through no fault of their own.Shame on both of them.Bob BradleyClifton ParkThe writer is co-chairman of the SCPRA (St. Clare’s Pension Recovery Alliance).More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

 

North Herts offices

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Suffolk council sits on the fens

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Property the dominant force despite share inertia

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Retail The waiting game

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Year kicks off with office take-up boom in M25 area

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